The Grass is Always Greener

Miss Roberts in an alternate universe

Given my time again I think I’d be my brother.

Not that I’m particularly unhappy with my life, I’m not, its just everything is such a struggle. My brother seems to have everything easy, no brain alien, beautiful wife, cosy life in Aberystwyth. We are very similar my brother and I, but, he does seem to get the better deal.

For example this week we will both be hanging around hospitals, me because I’m having a Neuro-Vascular angiogram, my brother because his wife is having a baby*.

He does not even have to give birth! No going through all that pain and discomfort and risk, he just gets to hang around the hospital and feel squeamish. Maybe smoking a cigar at some point. I’d be good at that, coughing on the cigar, being all anxious and turning green at the sight of blood.

But not me, I get to lay in a hospital bed with a tube going all the way up my veins from my hip to my head, and, if I’m lucky, watch video footage of the inside of my brain. I have to be brave and not feel squeamish because the one time I told myself I don’t need to pretend to be brave is the time I passed out at a routine blood test.

He was always mum’s favourite. She’d wanted boys and I was a poor substitute even with cropped hair, shorts and a boy’s fire engine. I taught him how to fly round the garden and draw chalk faces on the patio, the biggest chalk faces ever!

It was such a cheek when my sisters came along. He was my brother, there to help me behead barbie dolls, fight with, try on mum’s shoes, beat off the crocodiles at the bottom of the bunk bed, and dress up as a princess. I’ll never forget the day he beat me at arm wrestling, still convinced he cheated.

So he’s going to be a father now, and presumably that weird thing we had where we’d read the same books, try out the same experiments, think the same thoughts despite living a hundred miles apart, will be gone. He’ll be a Dad. Dad’s don’t have time for Dostoyevsky and examining skin cells down a microscope. Dads do grown up sensible things.

I feel a bit lonely I think. Bloody hell. And he’d of made a good Miss Roberts.

*I do wish Michael, Amanda and baby Violet the best of luck in the future, I am very happy for them (though I do still suspect that Violet may be an alien).

Notes on the Grand Plan: The Further Adventures of The Spletzer-Martin No 5.

Warning – If you have never read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells this blog may well spoil it for you. Not completely ruin it, just tell you a little bit too much.

So this grand plan of mine, solo album/sci-fi novel/musical/radio show/religion,  is called The Further Adventures of The Spletzer Martin No.5.

I cannot just work with the Rude Mechanicals on it as it would just turn into the Rude Mechanicals. Besides Cos and Guy are sly cold blooded men, especially that Cos. He’d have slit my throat from behind by now if only he could find another blonde wigged front person like me. All smiles on the surface, he’d never show a sign. The two of them would be on the radio interview and Guy wouldn’t say a word and Cos would be saying how they miss me and how they are waiting for me to come back, whilst I’d be bleeding to death in some gutter, gnawed by flea-ridden dogs he’d been breeding and raising for years specially for the job. And Guy woudn’t rescue me.

So this project is going to take a long time.

I’ve been round recording noises, water, tunnels etc. It involved a vile poo-bathing incident with Monty which I won’t go into now, but I did get some good sounds. Now what?

Well I’ve got the story started. Its about a man called Abel, set in London during a recession, in the future, but not that far in the future. There is a mad woman in it who accidentally starts a new religion.

In The Time Machine  the human race has evolved into two species: the leisured classes have become the ineffectual Eloi who live on the surface, and the downtrodden working classes have become the brutish light-fearing Morlocks who live underground.

At the same time as I was reading The Time Machine I read an article in The National Geographic about how there is a community of people in Las Vegas who live in the tunnels under the city, coming up at night to feed off the leftovers of the above-landers. The start of the split between the Eloi and Morlock? Hmmm…

So this is the basic premise of my story, but its set in London. London has many tunnels and hidden rivers.

Carnival will be very important in the piece. Some experts think the term Carnival comes from carne vale a Latin expression meaning “Farewell to Meat”. Traditionally it was a festival before Lent when rich foods such as meat had to be consumed. A meat eating festival.

And Rough Music, plenty of that sort of stuff: Noisy, masked processions held outside the home of the supposed wrongdoer, involving the cacophonous rattling of bonesand cleavers, the ringing of bells, hooting, blowing bull’s horns, the banging of frying pans, saucepans, kettles, or other kitchen or barn implements with the intention of creating long-lasting embarrassment to the alleged perpetrator. (Wikipedia).

I think I will have to have a recording session where the musicians wear masks and hit bones and frying pans.  No I’m not joking.

Musicians, now there’s a tricky question. I have to use them, can’t not. I’m interested in the group, improvisation, collective action and rhythm. Slime Mold cells in sync! ( the majority of people who visit my blog seem to be looking for Slime Molds. They are great). But musicians do insist on doing music. And a lot of musicians see improvisation to be merely about individual grandeur rather than working together.

“Well”, you might think to yourself, ” Miss Roberts is very into individual granduer”, and you’d be right. That could be why The Spletzer Martin No.5 project might have to kill her off.

I went to exchange chilli peppers for cups of tea yesterday with Django Bates, and we got talking, or rather I harassed him with questions, about vocal improvising. He told me to listen to Phil Minton and played me some great stuff by Salsid Endersen ( I have probably spelt that wrong). The first one he played was just vocal noises she made in the more avantgarde album, appealing but noone would ever listen to an album of me doing that. No one would listen to more than 30 seconds. The second album was more like poetry, I may have to ask to borrow it. I like Phil Minton’s Feral Choir, will have to pinch that idea for the masked musicians.

I don’t know why I’m even interested in this vocal improvisation stuff really, but it seems I am, and Phil Minton can now be held responsible for some of the noises I am likely to make in this album/sci-fi novel/musical/film/radio show/religion/artwork. Which, although having considerble resemblance to music, will be everything but.

So first recording session end of January. Any questions?

Update – This has now been put off till May when I will be celebrating still being alive. 

Meat and Two Veg

Potatoes, hot peppers and chives
Potatoes, hot peppers and chives from my garden

I’ve just eaten a meal consisting mainly of veg grown in my back garden. Now I’m waiting to see if I survive.

Cooking doesn’t interest me all that much. My reason for  growing vegetables is more biological curiosity than allotment keeping, so I’m always amazed if I produce anything edible. Today they do seem to be, the meal was actually very nice.

The veg are grown in the same earth where I found the bones (Bones in the back Garden). I like the idea that the flesh on the bones fed the earth that fed the veg which has just fed me.

As long as I don’t think too hard about who the bones were.

I’ve been experimenting with cooking meat recently. I gave up meat almost 20 years ago, shortly after the knife incident in fact (Stalking part5. The Knife).

The new meat curiosity came about because I’m now a dog owner.

As a once long term vegetarian meat is a somewhat curious phenomenon. That thing I’m eating once had a character, it could see, it could feel pain, it may well have come to the gate to say hello to me if I passed it’s field. It’s body matter now becoming my body matter. The recycling of life.

How fascinating!

Normal. But odd non the less.

Could I kill a creature to eat it? Certainly, if I needed to. Given certain circumstances and a detachment. I imagine I could enjoy it. A switching from empathy to consumption.

A farmer near where my parents live calls all his sheep by the same name (Betty I believe) to help prevent him getting attached to any one of them.

Another farm near there kept a lamb. It’s mother had died when it was born so they had  bottle fed it and it became part of the family. They called it Dot.

Then one day the father decided that it was time to eat Dot. They would have her for Christmas dinner.

He prepared the children for this, telling them that this was the cycle of life, things must die and be eaten by other things, that was how life continued.

The mother carefully prepared and cooked the creature, then presented it at the dinner table. The father announced that they were now going to eat Dot the lamb and the mother took the carving knife and cut them each a slice. The two children started eating the meat without a second thought. The mother did the same. The father paused, got up from the table and without a word left the room. He never took a bite of Dot.

Brain Porn 2 -The Grand Plan

Miss Roberts in a wedding dress and crownSo finally, after tearing my hair out over it for a whole year, I was brave and said yes to the operations to have the Alien removed from my brain (Brain Porn- Notes to Self) I was terribly pleased with myself for getting up the courage to do that. Then the hospital tell me if they start the operations but find they can only make the Alien smaller, not get rid of it all, then it may be more dangerous than if they’d just left it alone. Oh.

So I may just be left to rot.

Good news is it is unlikely to be causing dementia, bad news is it is likely to be cutting the link between my brain and my words.

But brains can adapt can’t they? I’m sure someone told me that black cab drivers brains actually physically enlarge when they do the knowledge (though that could have been my uncle John boasting). A doctor once told me that I was probably meant to be right handed but because the left side of the brain was damaged it decided to swap over and use the other side. So if I can do that with my dexterity I’m sure I could do it with words. If I just write and write and write, and read and read, and perform, and just keep going it’ll find a way to adapt, surely.  (It is compulsory that you agree with me here, the alternative is me screaming AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  which may never end )

So there is a plan. There must always be a plan. It doesn’t matter how ludicrous having a plan is to my circumstances, no matter what the chances of completing it, it has to be there and it has to be grand. And capable of being rehashed and re-presented as and when required.

The plan is to produce an album/Sci-fi detective novel. I had previously been planning to do a solo album on RIM Records, and a musical with the Rude Mechanicals. Then when I thought I was going in for the operations it was an album come novel in 8 parts linked to the operations. Now it is floating. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m going to start it. Had a chat with the mysterious Erreth Sondabeng, borrowed some equipment and am going round recording sounds. I need sounds from underground, tunnels, underground water.

I think I want a rhythm tapped out on a table, that gets repeated at various points, on various different objects. Altered, distorted, transformed, lost, and brought back again. And the sounds of those objects should be tasted. In any single note there seems to be many many sounds so I ‘d like to explore the different sounds without worrying so much about key. Though I imagine its like colour and the possibilities are endless so you have to pin it down to a readymade system in the end, but I’m going to start with found noises and the tapping of objects and see where it takes me.

And it is still vaguely based on The Time Machine.

Note To the gentleman who read the  first Brain Porn blog and accused me of washing my undies in public:
Too right I am! Waving them in your face I am! Dirty no good private brain porn. Why? Why not? Because it doesn’t fit well into polite conversation, and if I write it here you don’t have to read it.